Monday, November 3, 2008

Sinus Infection on Two

It's the night before the stairway installation. I've just finished vacuuming the hallway and am heading back to the upper level. (You have to keep the common areas clean during renovations, so as to avoid whiny complainers ratting you out to the coop board over something as fatal as a partial footprint or spent match)

I open the front door and see a black dufflebag on the floor. The door to the apartment across the hall is wide open.

Fuck I think, quickly closing the door without slamming it.

It's the Freak Across the Hall. Even though I've met him only once, that was enough.

I entered the hallway from the stairwell and walked down towards the apartment, keys in hand. He was at his apartment door with a female friend, a dowdy, ugly pale-faced dog. I couldn't tell if they were coming or going. As I got closer, I slowed my pace, waiting for them to enter the apartment or start walking towards the elevator. (In retrospect, I should have just turned around and walked back upstairs)

I thrusted my key into the lock and turned. I did not do this fast enough, because the old, trumpet-playing man recognized me.

Immediately, he sang the praises of our duplex-in-the-making to his friend. Have you ever heard someone gossip about you right to your face? This is what it sounds like:

"Ooooh, his apaaaaartment - well his friend's apartment - is unbelieeeeevable. They're making a duuuuuplex. You should seeeeee it..."

And as he went on and on, I opened the door and slipped inside. Here was where I had two, distinct options: 1) be a dick and slam the door in their faces or 2) wait for him to shut the fuck up and say "Have a good night."

As I tried to say goodnight, the Freak Across the Hall turned to me and said, "Oh, can she take a peek?"

This is the crucial difference between Larry and I. He will invite the most annoying of neighbors in to see our dual-level junk yard apartment, while I would rather wait until it is habitable keep it all to myself.

So I opened the door as far as it could and she peeked in and up at the massive hole in the ceiling. The whole show-and-tell-with-a-total-stranger thing just left me a little annoyed.

Back to the present. I peek through the peep hole to spy on the Freak Across the Hall.

Even though the peep hole is behind a small square of one-way glass, I'm worried that he will somehow see me, so I turn the lights off.

The Freak paces back and forth in his apartment with the door open. It's as if he is purposefully delaying his exit. He disappears behind a wall and I hear him blowing his nose with the force of a truck horn. I hear the sound of hangers, as if he's looking for some last minute outfit.

Get the fuck out, I want to go upstairs and watch Family Guy!

I can hear him coughing, sniffling, snorting, blowing his nose. I tell myself that I will have to spray all the common door handles in the hallway with Lysol when the old fucker leaves.

Finally, he comes out into the hall and closes the door. I get a good view of his ugly black fedora and cheap leather jacket. As I spy on him, I wonder if people have done this to me, as I vacuum the hallways each night after the day laborers workers have left. I also wonder if he will do anything obsene since he doesn't know he's being watched. After an eternity, Sinus Infection on Two picks up his bag and leaves.

I step back from the door and wonder if we have any Lysol in the apartment. Incredibly, there is a can prominently displayed atop the refrigerator. It's incredible because both apartments are in a state of junk-yard chaos. Good luck finding that camera battery charger or bottle of asprin you needed yesterday.

I slowly open the door and see that he is gone. I grab the can of Lysol and head out, spraying the handle on the stairwell door as well as the compactor room door.

Looks like life on 2 is going to be more interesting than I thought.


Christopher said...

My neighbors are all so boring...I guess I should apreciate it...or wait...maybe I'm the freak of the street! said...

Achoooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! I have a sinus infection too GGGGGGGRRRRRRRRR